Login and creating a new account were ridiculously difficult and took a tediously long amount of time.
Trying to purchase seeds was unsuccessful at first attempt as the website claimed I had a previous membership which is impossible because I only discovered Seed Savers a few months ago. I requested a "new" password but nothing was sent to the email address they indicated they had on file.
I really wanted to order some seeds so I went ahead and set up a new account. It's an email address I rarely give out because I don't want to be slammed with spam and I'm hoping SSE doesn't sell it.
Another gripe is that the SSE search function isn't reliable. When I first discovered SSE, I asked it to find several unusual seeds that I wanted to find, that came back negative so I found and purchased them elsewhere. Then I found them in the catalog, and they were not only available from SSE, but at $2.75 were a lot less expensive. Later I went back and used the search function again because I didn't want to plow through an entire product line to get to the ones I wanted. I got a couple of false negatives for things I know are sold there.
This next is a minor point but shipping & handling charges are based on a $10 order, though almost all seeds sold by this company are $2.75. They probably should tie s&h charges to the number of packets. I misread the information and had 4 packets picked out so I dropped one to come in under the cutoff.
I really don't think it should be necessary to join SSE to buy seeds. I'm annoyed at the length of time it took me this afternoon to even be able to buy my seeds. I should have been able to jump on, call up the seeds I wanted and type in my order without jumping through hoops.
On the positive side, I'm impressed with the quality and variety of the SSE catalog. And every single plant image I've seen on the site is at least beautiful eye candy, and some of them are are stunning.
Another positive observation is the excellent variety of unusual and heirloom seeds. And if my income tax refund had arrived by now, I'd probably have purchased several others from SSE.
In short, my ordering experience this afternoon was ridiculously time and process consuming to buy just three seed packs from this company. And I resent having to join to make the purchase. I get nothing for my trouble unless I actually take out a paid membership and that's not going to happen.
On Mar 15, 2010, Dyson Rocky Mount, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
Posted on December 25, 2009, updated March 15, 2010
Started ordering seed for the 2010 season two weeks ago. All of the 2009 garden was done with nursery transplants and I wanted to try (once again) starting my own plants from seed.
Found the SSE website from an article in Mother Earth News.
Downloaded their catalog (.pdf). The photography is excellent. Ordered Stevia seed. It arrived promptly and well packaged.
Ordered Tomato seed with the same results. Only problem is to figure out what to order next.
On March 15th, 2010, Dyson added the following:
Update 3-15-2010 - Ordered many more vegetable seed have started onion, peas and cauliflower and I am extremely pleased with the near 100% germination rate of everything started so far.
I have ordered seeds from SSE for at least two years. Germination has been better than any other company I have received seeds from. Shipping is fast. And as other posters have mentioned the website is easy to use and their catalog is among the best.
I was impressed with the tremendous selection, and the mission of SSE so I called them regarding an order I wanted to place. I let them know it was important that I receive the seeds quickly, since they were for our annual garden tour, for a display garden to be grown from seeds. I was assured the seeds would be shipped quickly, so I placed the order, asking that the seeds be sent to a friend who would germinate them. Several weeks later, I learned the seeds had not arrived at my friend's house. When I called SSE, I learned that the seeds had not been shipped due to a minor error. I reminded them about our earlier conversation, and asked if they would expedite shipping. The person I spoke to was apologetic and polite, and she did offer to personally make sure the seeds were sent out that day, but did not agree to ship by an expedited method. Under the circumstances, I thought they should have done so. I'll follow up this feedback when the seeds arrive.
I have never had a bad experience with anything I have ordered. My husband and I pour over the catalogues when they come. They are so interesting with all of the things we have never seen before even if they aren't something we have room to plant. The membership is so worth it. I wish I could visit there in person.
On Jun 22, 2009, baffledq Salt Lake City, UT (Zone 6b) wrote:
I have ordered from this company many times and am always impressed. The seed packets themselves are sturdy, with lots of information, so you can save your own seed in the same package! Or at least keep the packet on file for the information.
I also appreciate the fact that they don't cheat on number of seeds; I've received packets with FAR more seeds than was indicated in the catalog.
Their test farm in Iowa is definitely something to visit if you're in the area.
Over the past few years, I have ordered the majority of the seeds for my garden from SSE- the orders have always been accurate, and when I emailed them with questions, Tara responded immediately. Germination rates have been good.
I order at least a couple varieties of seeds from Seed Savers every year--this year no exception. They have items that I haven't seen in other catalogs. Last year I tried the ground cherries (yum!) and this year I'm giving Sunberries a try. Shipments have always been quick, and germination very good.
On Apr 6, 2009, goofybulb El Paso, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
First time ordering from SSE, it happened about 10 days ago. I am impressed at the wonderful variety they have, all heirloom/open pollinated vegetable seeds. I was very excited to see that they carry a Romanian heirloom bean that I've been longing for. Reasonable prices, fast shipping - my seeds arrived within 1 week from ordering. Great quality too, all the beans are sprouting already! I will definitely order again.
I ordered seed potatoes this spring - 5 different varieties. When my shipment arrived, there were only 4 - beautiful!!! However the 5th variety was missing, I looked at the invoice expecting that they were sold out (even though I had ordered last fall) but the invoice showed that I had been charged for these non received potatoes. I have called and left 2 messages and sent 2 emails, but no response. I have been very happy with previous orders and this company's mission, but am greatly disappointed at this situation.
Thanks to poor planning on my part I hadn't ordered any Amish Paste tomato seeds for this year. It's getting late so I rumaged around in my old seed box and came up with some of yours packed for 2006. 3 out of 5 are already up. Wow! That's better than some other brands that are packed for this year. I'm impressed.
On Jan 24, 2009, jerrygarden14 Chula Vista, CA wrote:
They always offer a decent selection of popular heirloom vegetables. Have ordered a few times and had nice results from their seeds with pretty standard (good) germination. Most certainly a good source for heirlooms. I'd love to visit their farms, maybe someday!
SSE has a little higher prices than some of the other catalogs, but they offer heirlooms that can't be found anywhere else, which makes the price more than worth it. I ordered a mixture of seeds and potatoes from their website this January, and they shipped the seeds promptly. The potatoes of course won't ship till March planting-time. The seeds arrived in less than a week, which is pretty impressive for cross-country shipping.
SSE has one of the best online ordering systems I've seen anywhere, and many of their seeds include seed-saving information right in the description.
On Jul 21, 2008, prairiedoc Morris, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:
I spent ten years getting hooked on heirloom vegetable varieties at farmers' markets; when I moved to a small town and couldn't get those varieties anymore, I figured I'd just have to grow them myself. It was a real treat to get the Seed Savers catalogue and find so many old favorites, not to mention discover dozens of varieties I'd never heard of!
I bought seeds for direct-sowing outdoors (I'm not yet set up to do indoor seed-starting), and the germination rate has been impressive given the cold, wet spring we've had, not to mention my own inexperience. I particularly enjoy explaining the unusual varieties of potatoes and winter squash to my friends and neighbors.
I doubt I'll ever become a member of Seed Savers Exchange -- I like growing too many varieties of things to maintain pure strains! -- but I'm deeply grateful that there's a catalogue available to non-members and that I can still support the work they're doing in some small way.
On Jun 13, 2008, Luv_Perennials Cincinnati, OH wrote:
I have placed relatively small orders with SSE over the years and have loved the selection, information, and quality of seed. For the past two years I have purchased a few live tomato and pepper plants. Each year I have had excellant results with these very healthy plants, and very tasty produce. The first year, two of the tomato plants looked like they had gotten too hot in the box and would not make it, but after a few weeks languishing, they began to grow and produced well. I plan to continue to order from SSE, and may even join one year.
On May 28, 2008, d_montaigne El Cerrito, CA wrote:
I ordered online in late April (seeds and seed potatoes) and received all my seeds within the time period stated on SSE's website. The seed potatoes came a little later than expected, but it worked out because I was behind in preparing my "potato box." I have nice potato leaves coming up and have started to hill the potatoes. Seedlings of direct-sown seed are also up; I have hope that this year I can eat some real meals from my (small) garden!
Just completed this year's order with Seed Savers Exchange, which prompts me to extol a too-often overlooked virtue: An easy to use Web site. This is especially important to me since I have an elderly computer and creakly old dial-up Internet service. Never have I experienced a Web site as easy to navigate as that of SSE. Online ordering is a joy. And, of course, the seeds are to die for, especially the tomato and pepper varieties. Heartily recommended. Oh, and any garden lover definitely should take a pilgrimage out to Decorah, Iowa, at least once. The SSE farm is a wonderful place to see.
On Feb 21, 2008, sunkisst Port Saint Lucie, FL wrote:
IMHO,this is a wonderful organization with a great philosophy. As a past paid member I took advantage of the vast and sometimes unusual selections available through fellow members always experiencing a pleasant exchange. However, I did have some germination issues occasionally when ordering through fellow members. This was more than made up for by the generosity and good spirit of the members at large.
As far as ordering directly through SSE goes (no membership required), I have had deliveries that seemed a little on the slow side but I would certainly still recommend them.
On Jan 29, 2008, Gardengirl1204 Richmond, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:
After reading about Seed Savers here on DG, I checked out their site and ordered 6 packets of seeds. Their communication via email was first rate and the delivery was fast. The seeds were packaged nicely! Highly recommend!
I ordered seeds from SSE and they arrived promptly, were well packed and had colorful packaging with good planting instructions. The selection is good, but I thought the seeds were a little pricey at $2.75 per packet; however they still were not overly expensive.
On Jul 10, 2007, asl5 Ardmore, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
I've ordered from SSE for years and have always been pleased with my interaction with them. I've purchased vegetable and herb seeds, as well as tomato plants, garlic and potatoes. I've been very happy with everything. The plants have arrived in great shape. I also LOVE their catalog -- it is a real treat whenever it arrives.
On Mar 21, 2007, DawninTx Nevada, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:
I've ordered flower seeds from Seed Savers for the last three years and have always had a good experience. Seeds arrived promptly and planting instructions were printed on the packages. Some seeds that I have tried include hollyhock, cleome, moon flower, morning glory, bunny tails, and more. I ordered seeds for Corkscrew vine, package of five seeds, and all germinated. This year ordered corkscrew vine seeds from another vendor, also sent five seeds, I had no germination.
This year I am trying tomatoes for the first time. I ordered Brandywine and Beams Yellow Pear. Again, germination was excellent, and the seedlings all look strong and healthy.
On Jan 11, 2007, lafko06 Brimfield, MA (Zone 5a) wrote:
I ordered their garlic variety pack in the fall. I was impressed with selection, quality and condition of the package. I already have 6 inch shoots and I'm looking forward to fresh garlic in the summer. I was so impressed, that I recently bought a membership too.
First, I have been very disappointed with the poor germination rate of their seeds. Second I ordered prairie plants from them and was told today that they would not arrive until the middle of next week, meaning they would sit in a UPS truck over a hot, 3-day weekend. Thier rationale is that being prairie plants they are tough enough to handle anything as they should be dormant. I don't understand how any plants, much less prairie plants can be dormant at this stage of the growing season.
On May 12, 2006, adadia Glenmoore, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:
Last week I ordered 12 tomato, pepper and ground cherry transplants from SSE, and they arrived today in excellent shape. Their packaging is phenominal; UPS left the package upside down on my doorstep, but it didn't make any difference-all of my transplants were still firmly in their pots with all their soil still in the pots with them, and nothing broken. The transplants themselves are robust and healthy. I ordered these from SSE because it was pretty late and other places had already sold out of the transplants I wanted, but next year SSE will be my first choice.
On May 5, 2006, DCUrbanGardener Washington, DC (Zone 7a) wrote:
I have placed two separate orders of seeds, and three separate orders transplants from SSE. Very impressed with how friendly and helpful their customer service is. The many seeds I ordered have since sprouted; about 85% germination rate.
The three transplant orders are 1 group of pairie plants and 2 groups of tomatoes & peppers. Out of the 6 pairie plants, one was a little immature to be sent (I thought they had been hardened?) and didn't make it after it was put in the soil. The others were fine, although one is showing signs of stress.
One group of tomato and pepper transplants look fine; still waiting for another group to arrive next week. Will update when that comes.
On May 12th, 2006, DCUrbanGardener changed the rating from neutral to positive and added the following:
The second group of heirloom tomato transplants arrived. They all look healthy. I checked the soil, and it is not too dry. As per usual, the packaging is superb.
Placed order online and rec'd email confirmation promtly. Rec'd seeds within about a week and a half. I believe in what they are doing, so I am willing to pay $2.50 for a packet of 25 tomato seeds because I think it is important to have people dedicated to seed preservation.
On Feb 26, 2006, melody Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:
I've been an SSE member for several years now and decided to try the retail side of the company this year.
I renewed my membership on line and placed a retail order. My Yearbook came promptly when it was supposed to, and my seeds followed shortly.
Everything was packaged beautifully and I love the ease of the website for placing orders.
I would not be without my SSE membership, as I believe in what Kent Whealy is doing with all of my heart. Even if I could not garden for some reason, I would still be a member to support the organization.
On Jan 27, 2006, jasmerr Merrimac, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:
I have purchased seeds and plants from Seed Savers (Madison, Wisconsin store) for more than three years now. I have always been very pleased with their seeds and plants. My only complaint...since the Madison store closed I'll have to mail order or drive to Decorah!
On Jan 7, 2006, taynors Urbana, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:
I am new to gardening and i am glad to here all the positive feedback on this company.
I love their catalog!!!!!!!!!!!! I look at it all winter long and plan my garden. It is good to know that their is a great company. I have ordered seeds and thier transplants and have very good luck. I even had to return some seeds because i was so excited i didn't realize i had to much. NO problem in the return. Very friendly.
Great company to deal with, have had no problems with any of the seeds I have ordered and they have a wonderful selection. Customer service is great, kept me well informed when one item was delayed and I received it much faster than the expected delivery date. Will do business with again this year.